2016 lifestyle Nature

5 House Plants for the Supremely Neglectful

February 15, 2016
I’m still not sure whether it’s an acquired skill or not, but I am endlessly jealous of people with green thumbs. I grew up around plants because my mother is an avid gardener, but I still have managed to kill more than one cactus plant in my life, and those are notoriously low maintenance. However, my desire to live in a veritable indoor jungle has not lessened one bit.

Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by overflowing vines and leafy pots in every window?

 

Not to mention that some plants purify the air around you, thereby making you more radiant and successful in basically every way possible. So in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve decided that I will turn my thumb into a green one. As it turns out, you can’t just buy a low-maintenance plant and then never do anything again. It seems obvious, but even low-maintenance plants need a few things every now and then. Once I realized that, I’ve been doing pretty well. I’m no expert yet, but I’ve learned a few things in the process. If you, like me, struggle with taking care of house plants, I’ve put together a list of a few of the easiest ones, and what you need to do to not kill them. Scroll through to find out what they are and click here to style your bathroom with the perfect plants!
1. Snake plant
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The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s-tongue, is a striking plant that is also super reasy to take care of. This plant is number on on the list because it is REALLY hard to kill. It literally thrives on neglect. Went out of town for two weeks and didn’t water it? Great. Forgot to move it into direct sunlight for an hour or two? It’ll probably grow more. If you forget that it exists for a month, nothing bad will happen. Nothing. In terms of care, the snake plant likes indirect sunlight and dry soil, which means that it’s a good plant to put in your bathroom, or a spot in your bedroom that is bright but never gets sunlight shining directly onto it. If it gets too much direct sunlight, the plant will get a sunburn (aww!). Let the soil get nice and dry between waterings, and when you do water it, don’t soak the soil. It doesn’t need too much.

2. Pathos

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Pothos is pretty much as easy to take care of as the snake plant, except they need a little more water. They do well in anything from low to bright indirect light, and need light watering once a week or so. Another really cool thing about them is the way their root systems work. Each stem of the plant actually has a separate root system, so you can a take a clipping of the plant, put it in some water, and eventually it will sprout a new root system and then you have a new pothos plant! (However, since water has no nutrients, they shouldn’t really stay in water for more than a couple months.) I have one of these on my beside table next to a window, and it’s doing really well.

3. Assortment of succulents

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I know, earlier I said I’ve killed multiple cacti, but I have since learned the error of my ways. Just because they are desert plants doesn’t mean you can stick them in a window that gets direct sunlight, never water them, and meet great success. Succulents generally prefer bright light, but light that is too direct can burn them. If they are getting too much light, they will turn yellowish. If they’re not getting enough light, they will literally start to reach towards what little light they do have, making them look stretched out. (The scientific gardener term for this is “etiolation,” if you were curious.) During the spring and summer, water them once a week or so. Unlike the snake plant, you really want to soak the soil, so take them to the kitchen sink and gently run water through the soil until it’s dripping out the bottom of the pot. Leave it to drain, and then return the plant to its window. In the winter, succulents only usually need to be watered every other month since they’re not doing much growing.

4. Aloe Vera

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This one also takes indirect light. Also, it pulls formaldehyde out of the air and purifies it! The leaves also store liquid that is great for distressed skin, so if you’re in a pinch you can break a leaf or two open on a mature plant for a sunburn. (Personally, I’d rather not. I don’t know about you, but thinking about deliberately damaging my plant doesn’t sit very well with me.) Aloe plants should be watered the same way that you would water your succulents – deeply, and allowing them to drain out in the sink. Let the soil dry out in between waterings. A good way to test this is to stick your finger a few inches into the soil. If the soil sticks to your fingers, it doesn’t need to be watered. If it’s crumbly and dry, you might want to water the aloe. Not only is the aloe plant a chill plant to look after, but it has great health benefits too! Check out detailed info here.

5. Spider plant

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The spider plant is interesting because as it matures and develops, it sprouts tiny babies from the mother plant that hang over the side. It’s creepy and weirdly fascinating. Spider plants do best in bright, indirect lighting, and slightly cooler spots in your house. They also like moist soil (not drenched, and it’s important that you drain them out in the sink as well), and drying out between waterings. Once it is happy enough to start making its own babies, you can separate them from the mother plant in a process that I don’t really understand yet and is better explained here.

What are your favorite leafy friends? Do you have a green thumb? Share your secrets in the comments! Happy gardening!

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